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An important part of Hollywood history, the stand was started by Paul and Betty Pink with a $50 pushcart on land they leased for $15 a month near the corner of La Brea and Melrose avenues. From meager beginnings, Pink’s Hot Dogs transformed over the years into an iconic destination for hot dog-lovers from around the world.
The Pinks’ story is filled with twists and turns, just like a Hollywood movie. When the landlord raised the rent from $15 to $25 in 1941, they were forced to cook up a new plan. After securing a $4,000 loan, the Pinks bought the property, added a cover to the pushcart and also started selling hamburgers. The pushcart remained until 1946, when the Pinks saved enough money to build the stand at 709 N. La Brea Ave. At the time, Pink’s famous hot dogs sold for 25¢.
Over the years, the Pink family has continued the legacy of offering mouthwatering food in a convenient and causal environment. Pink’s Hot Dogs is owned and operated by Paul and Betty’s children, Richard Pink and his sister Beverly Pink-Wolfe, as well as Richard’s wife Gloria. The stand itself has changed very little, with expansive open windows giving customers a bird’s-eye view of the hot dogs sizzling on the grill. Richard Pink said that was intentional, as the experience of going to Pink’s is all part of the fun.
“Pink’s faces the sidewalk, so people can watch the food being prepared, can line up on the sidewalk and it’s a real experience. Pink’s is all about food and the experience, and we try to create as many experiences as possible,” he said.
Pink’s Hot Dogs is a favorite among celebrities, and part of the experience is viewing the hundreds of autographed photos in the dining room of Hollywood stars who also enjoy the stand’s fare. Many of the hot dogs on the menu are named after the celebrity clientele, such as the Drew’s News Dog (named for Drew Barrymore), a 12-inch jalapeno dog topped with mustard, chili, onions, three slices of bacon and shredded cheddar cheese; the Martha Stewart Dog, a nine-inch stretch dog with relish, onions, three strips of bacon, chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut and sour cream; and the Emeril Legasse Bam Dog, a nine-inch stretch dog with mustard, onions, cheese, jalapenos, three strips of bacon and coleslaw. Like it hot? Enjoy an Ozzy Spicy Dog with a spicy Polish dog, nacho and American cheese, grilled onions, guacamole and chopped tomatoes. For a taste inspired by Hollywood itself, order a La La Land Dog with a nine-stretch dog topped with guacamole, chopped tomatoes, bacon bits and a swizzle of sour cream.
Pink said his parents designed the stand with the original pushcart in mind, keeping the tradition of having close interaction with customers. It’s something that Pink’s will never change, he added.
“They wanted to duplicate the look and feel of a pushcart. People say it has such a nostalgic feel, they really enjoy it because it’s like going back in time,” Pink added. “They created that experience where people can line up and see the staff moving around inside. I’ve always joked that it’s one of the longest-running shows in Hollywood.”
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